10 myths about 12 step programs

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, community treatment programs such as 12 step programs are a legitimate form of treatment. Unfortunately, due to movie, television, and popular culture, have all contributed to misconceptions about 12 step programs.

1. People in 12 Step Programs are Fanatics

Most people in 12 step programs are ordinary people struggling with a problem with drugs or alcohol. They are no more fanatical than any other rehab or recovery group.

2. 12 Step Programs are Cults

Although many people have branded the spiritual side of 12 step programs as a cult, they lack the religious fever that a cult has. Most cults are defined by their religion and religious fevor.

3. You Have to Be Religious to be in a 12 Step Program

You do not have to be particularly religious or spiritual to join a 12 step program. The spiritual aspects of the program are optional. There are even 12 step programs that leave out the spiritual portions of the program.

4. There is only One Type of 12 Step Meeting

12 step myths

12 step group members generally control how the meetings are structured.

There are several types of 12 step meetings just as there are several types of 12 step groups. Each group has its individuality as well as its autonomy. Most groups are controlled by the members themselves with just the governing guidelines of the main 12 step ideals.

5.  12 Step Programs work for Everyone

Although 12 step programs work for many, not all solutions are for everyone. Some people might need the structure of inpatient treatment or the medical solutions of medication replacement treatment.

6. You will always be Powerless Against the Drug or Alcohol as Long as you are in a 12 Step Program

Most 12 step programs are about gaining power over your addiction not remaining powerless against it.

7. You Have to Speak During a 12 Step Meeting

There is no rule that you have to speak at a 12 step meeting. Many people feel that they want to speak after attending a few meetings but there is no requirement that you speak anything other than your first name.

8. 12 Step Programs Consist of Only Meetings

Most 12 step groups have both meetings and other activities. These activities include things like:

  • camping trips,
  • beach parties,
  • lake parties,
  • shopping outings, and
  • other activities that involve getting out in the community and being sober.

The focus of 12 step programs is on sobriety rather than meetings.

12 Step Programs: Just how Many are There?

9. You can Only be in a 12 Step Program, They do not Allow other Forms of Treatment

12 step programs are often offered inside inpatient and outpatient programs. It can sometimes serve as a backup and support for other programs or it can serve as the spearhead for counseling and medical management of other diseases.

10. 12 Step Programs are the Only Successful Way to Stop Using Drugs or Alcohol

There are many ways to stop using drugs or alcohol. 12 step programs are only one way. For more information on 12 step programs or to discuss other treatment options, call us at 1-800-895-1695.

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